In one of the strangest pieces of casting ever seen on the British stage HGT spent the early years of his acting career as understudy for Arthur Askey. Despite the fact that he could not hold a tune, dance or in fact act HGT proved remarkably popular, when called upon to perform, with both audiences and fellow performers alike.
As Stinker Murdoch put it HGT was twice as tall as Arthur and only half the performer but he was a dream to work with compared to that constantly irritating bugger Askey.
Askey used to irritate the crap out of everyone with his non stop cheeky chappie act. Audiences would audibly groan when the house manager would announce that due to circumstances beyond his control Mr Askey's part would be taken by Mr Askey for the evenings performance. Famously Stinker Murdoch once tried to strangle himself backstage 10 minutes into The Ghost Train. Askey still holds the record at 19 for the most number of fellow dames to commit suicide during the run of a panto.
Sadly HGT's career stalled after he was to ill to stand in for a missing Askey. His place was taken by Murdoch's Labrador 'Blondie' who received rave reviews and so many curtain calls Stinker would bring Blondie's bed out. Like HGT, Arthur's stage career was over and he had to make do with just making bucket loads of money from Film and TV.